With its Gen X perspective on family dysfunction and a cast of ace comedic actors, “A.C.O.D.” — short for “adult child of divorce” — looks primed for a trip through sharply observed comic territory. But even with Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler on board, the results are regrettably forgettable.
Scott plays Carter, a mildly R-rated version of his nice-guy character on “Parks and Recreation.” A successful restaurateur with a longtime girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Carter is the de facto authority figure in his fractured family. When his sweetly impulsive younger brother (Clark Duke) decides to get married, it’s up to Carter to broker peace between their long-divorced parents. After some angry huffing and puffing, the folks (Jenkins and O’Hara) agree to put aside their mutual loathing for the big event, and soon enough are cheating on their respective spouses for another kind of huffing and puffing — complete with a primal-scene trauma for Carter that’s as ho-hum as the rest of the intended hilarity.
Stu Zicherman’s first feature, based on a screenplay he wrote with Ben Karlin, taps into a potential mother lode of angsty laughs. Carter is part of the “least-parented generation,” according to the quasi-therapist (Lynch) who helped him through his parents’ breakup. A researcher who spun her interviews with kids into a bestseller, she’s now working on a 20-year follow-up, as intrusively as possible.
Solid performances aside, closing-credits comments from the movie’s crew members on marriage and divorce offer fresher insights than any of the story’s run-of-the-mill shenanigans.
“A.C.O.D.” Rated R for language and brief sexual content. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes. At the Landmark, West Los Angeles.